TAMPA, Fla. — The Bears circled mistake after mistake Sunday, like locals circle numbers on a bingo card. They added up to a 36-10 loss to the Buccaneers.
It was the most inexcusable defeat of the John Fox era, given that the Bears had an extra week to prepare and that it came against a team that had won only three of its last 21 home games.
The loss to the Jaguars last month came on a fluke play. Against the Bucs, the Bears made enough errors to shout out, stand up and claim their prize.
‘‘This is pretty disheartening,’’ linebacker Jerrell Freeman said.
‘‘It was an eye-opener,’’ cornerback Tracy Porter said.
‘‘Just bad football,’’ tight end Zach Miller said.
Fresh off an upset of the Vikings, the Bears spent their bye week trying to convince themselves they would be competitive in the second half. That seems laughable now.
‘‘We were terrible all day,’’ Miller said.
Quarterback Jay Cutler found various ways to hurt the Bears. He ended their second drive by throwing an interception to cornerback Brent Grimes at the Bucs’ 28. On the Bears’ next offensive play, he threw another pick that former Bears safety Chris Conte returned 20 yards for a touchdown.
After guard Kyle Long injured his right ankle on the Bears’ two drives later, he implored the team to win, banging on his cart as he was shuttled off the field. On the next play, third-and-goal from the Bucs’ 4, Cutler scrambled to his left and fumbled as he was sacked from behind by defensive end Noah Spence. Linebacker Kwon Alexander recovered.
Rookie Jordan Howard, who finished with 15 carries for 100 yards, then fumbled to end the Bears’ next possession.
Cutler’s 50-yard Hail Mary touchdown pass to Cam Meredith might have inspired the Bears before halftime, but Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston counterpunched.
Three plays into the second half, Winston sprinted back from the line of scrimmage, his own 23. The Bears’ Willie Young and Leonard Floyd chased him two yards deep into the end zone, missing chances to sack him, before he scrambled forward and found Mike Evans for a 39-yard completion.
‘‘I . . . tried to get a play,’’ said Floyd, who had 1½ sacks and a batted pass. ‘‘He retreated, then I tried to get him again. But then he stepped up in the pocket and let it rip. It was a great play by him.’’
After a false-start penalty, Winston found Freddie Martino for a 43-yard touchdown pass to give the Bucs a 24-10 lead.
By the time Cutler — who was 16-for-30 for 182 yards with two interceptions — fumbled out of his own end zone for a third-quarter safety, it was merely just the latest calamity.
Cutler said he didn’t know what was missing against the Bucs.
‘‘If we had that answer, a lot of teams would want to buy it,’’ he said.
None more so than his own.